The biggest news in sports Thursday morning was that the Buffalo Sabres had fired head coach Dan Bylsma and General Manager Tim Murray.
But the team didn’t come out and say they were fired, they said the pair had been, “relieved of their duties.” Which is a nice way of saying they were fired.
Teams and companies do this all the time now, they try and dress up a terrible thing to make it look like they aren’t the bad guys for people losing their jobs.
“Relieved of their duties,” or “Released from their contract,” or “Contract not renewed,” are all just lame public relations terms that teams use so it looks like they care, when in reality, they don’t and wanted the coach, GM or player out of the organization as fast as possible.
Stop for a second and think about what would happen if you or I got fired from our job, and upon returning home had to speak with our wives, girlfriends, parents, or whoever you happen to live with or communicate with.
“What are you doing home?”
“Oh, no big deal, I was just released into free agency from my contract by work today. Really looking forward to moving on to a new direction.”
“So you were fired?”
“Yeah, but we don’t call it that anymore, it’s not nice.”
They would look at you like you were crazy and then explain to you that you were fired, no matter how much you try and dress up the wording.
Just once I’d like a team to be honest. Come out and say, “Yeah, he was a terrible coach. We don’t want to thank him for what he did, he ran our team into the ground and we had to fire him.” It would be insanely refreshing and honest for a team to act like that.
Sure they might catch some flack from the talking heads on ESPN, but in the long-term the teams would be better off for it.
Firing someone, like the Sabres did today in Bylsma and Murray, does not mean they did a great job and you’re thankful for all they did. It means they did a shitty job or did something shitty outside of the job and, in your eyes, they didn’t deserve to be employed anymore.
That happens every day in this country to people who work at normal jobs where 234 people with columns to write and TV time to fill aren’t lurking at all times waiting to report on every little bit of news.
Heck, our President got famous for firing people, not for saying, “Oh, we’re relieving you of your duties, thanks for everything.” Say what you will about the man and his politics, but at least he was short and to the point when canning people.
Really, all I’m asking is to not treat fans and players like they’re idiots who don’t know what’s going on with the team. You fired them, just say that, don’t try and make it sound fancier than it is.